Yesterday I reached Day 100 of a 10,000 steps a day streak. I’ve been a fan of the Fitbit for a couple of years (I have the Zip). It has helped me to see just how sedentary I am left to my own devices. But even using it, I’ve had mixed results. I will walk consistently for awhile and then get busy and find reasons not to get out and move.
Back in the fall I started challenging myself to do 10K steps for a certain number of days in a row. I started with 7 and then went to 14 and then 21 and then 28. I didn’t have a certain number in mind, just that I wanted to see how many I could do.
As a New Year’s Resolution this year I said I would walk outside every day. Originally I said I would take a photo and post it to Instagram. The photo-a-day didn’t last very long as I quickly realized that half of my photos were in the dark and not all that interesting. I also found that I was spending too much of my walk thinking about what I could take a photo of. So I gave up on that part of the idea. But I kept walking. And somewhere along the way I decided to set 100 days as my goal.
Initially I started walking to try and get in better shape and to lose weight. I’ve lost only a minuscule amount since I haven’t really changed my diet. I feel like there are health benefits even if the scale hasn’t changed. But the benefits have mostly been other than health related.
I walk alone. Sometimes I walk just with H., sometimes it’s just me and the kids and sometimes we walk as a family all together. Almost always I have our dog Roxy as a faithful and eager companion. Each kind of walk is different. David enjoys walking alone with me and we will often have great conversations in the dusk or dark that we might not have in the day. Our walks during the school day often help us reenergize. The walks alone are much needed alone time with me. I like having an extended time to just be with my own thoughts. Regardless, it’s a time to unplug.
I specifically made my resolution to get outside to walk because I knew I would enjoy it more and therefore be more likely to do it. I’ve walked in rainstorms getting wetter than I have ever been in my life outside of the shower or a swimming pool. I’ve walked in a blizzard. I’ve seen some amazing sunsets and sunrises. We’ve seen beautiful full moons and tried to name the constellations. I’ve spotted the first crocuses and seen more deer in the early mornings around our neighborhood than I can count. All of those are things I would have missed if I was walking on a treadmill.
I know 10,000 steps a day is somewhat arbitrary. But there has been a benefit to me of setting a concrete goal and then meeting it. There have been days when the last thing I wanted to do was head out into the bitter cold and walk. Or when I’ve come home from work and am tired and just want to lie down and read a book but I haven’t gotten my walk in yet. I could have easily not walked outside or not quite gotten 10K steps and probably no one but me would have known the difference. However, the discipline of walking every day has become as important to me as any visible effects of exercise.
And yes, today was Day 101.